DOW 9234.47 DOWN 11.07 BONDS 30-YEAR TREASURIES 5.70% YIELD - 0.02 DOLLAR VS. JAPANESE YEN (N.Y.) 140.67 YEN + 0.67 YEN Three Republican senators accused federal antitrust officials of enlisting foreign governments in their battle against software giant Microsoft. In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, Sens. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Spencer Abraham (Mich.) suggested that probes of Microsoft by Japan, Israel, Brazil and others were prompted by senior Justice Department antitrust officials. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Reno said that "the charge that the department has divulged confidential information to foreign governments or encouraged them to take or threaten legal action is not true." Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said that talks aimed at settling the antitrust fight over the proposed $12 billion merger of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are not close to producing a settlement. The companies have been talking with the departments of Defense and Justice about ways to forestall a Sept. 8 trial of a lawsuit Justice filed in late March, seeking to halt the merger. A spokesman for Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin said the company still would prefer a settlement to a trial. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.) vowed to bring legislation to curb automated teller machine fees to a vote in the Senate before the session's end. His bill, "The Fair ATM Fees for Consumers Act," would prevent banks from "double-charging" for ATM use. Double-charging means a customer pays two separate fees for one visit to an ATM; the customer's bank levies one fee for using a machine outside its network, while the owner of the ATM charges an additional fee. Netscape Communications plans to make the next version of its browser software, Communicator 4.5, available for free today via its World Wide Web site. The software includes features such as "smart browsing," which lets people find Web sites by using common names rather than complex addresses. Sun Microsystems plans to introduce new software intended to make linking digital devices to computer networks as easy as plugging a telephone into a wall. The Jini technology, which is still being tested, could spur the development of networked consumer devices, from hand-held computers to cellular phones to so-called Internet appliances. Nestle said it will decrease the retail price of its 13-ounce cans of ground regular and decaffeinated coffee by 20 cents, effective Aug. 24. Nestle's major competitors, Folgers and Maxwell House, have announced identical price cuts in the past week. A federal judge ordered several members of the "Crazy Eddie" Antar family to turn over more than $20 million they made from selling inflated stock in the electronics discount store chain. Founder Eddie Antar and one of his brothers are in prison after admitting to roles in one of the nation's largest stock frauds. Crazy Eddie collapsed in 1987. Monsanto said it agreed to acquire Plant Breeding International Cambridge from Unilever for about $525 million in cash, marking its fourth major seed company acquisition in two months. A former managing director for a unit of Chase Manhattan was fined $250,000 and barred from the securities business for his part in a scheme to defraud the bank out of $20.8 million. The National Association of Securities Dealers alleged that Michael S. Wachs fraudulently sold bank assets and diverted the money to himself and others. Wachs pleaded guilty to bank fraud last December in a Manhattan federal court. Under an agreement with the U.S. attorney in New York, Wachs agreed to pay full restitution to Chase. Two former California Micro Devices executives were convicted of securities fraud in connection with a stock collapse that cost shareholders more than $100 million. Chan Desaigoudar, former chairman and chief executive, and Steven J. Henke, former vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer, face prison sentences of up to 13 years under federal guidelines, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Crowe. RECALLS Guinness Import announced a recall of 7,000 cases of Bass Ale that may have become contaminated with a chemical coolant. The recall involves 12-ounce bottles, sold in six-packs to wholesalers in the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. The company said a small number of cases were also sold in Baltimore, Boston, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and Santa Barbara, Calif. Bass said it has been advised by health experts that the risk to consumers is remote. EARNINGS Apple Computer surprised Wall Street with a much-stronger- than-expected profit for the latest quarter, its third consecutive quarterly profit. Apple posted a profit of $101 million, compared with a loss of $56 million a year ago. Excluding one-time items, Apple's profit in the latest quarter was $75 million. Ford's net income rose 6.7 percent, more than expected, to $2.38 billion, or $1.91 a share, from $2.23 billion, or $1.82 a share, in the year-earlier period. The year-ago results exclude earnings of Associates First Capital Corp., the finance unit that the automaker recently spun off, and other special items. Revenue rose 3.9 percent, to $37.3 billion from $35.9 billion, again excluding Associates in the 1997 period. Ford was expected to earn $1.81 a diluted share, according to First Call, which tracks the earnings forecasts of analysts. Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar said second-quarter profit rose 3 percent to $446 million. Caterpillar said it expects to see industry demand for machines and engines in the United States and Europe rise in 1998 from last year, while the outlook for the Asia/Pacific region continues to deteriorate. Time Warner said its second-quarter earnings more than tripled, rising to $101 million, helped by strong advertising at its cable television channels and magazines and rising TV program distribution revenue at the company's Warner Bros. unit. Analysts had expected a loss. Eastman Kodak said second-quarter profit rose 35 percent, to $495 million, as it recovered ground from Japanese rival Fuji. The company's per-share earnings of $1.51 surpassed analysts' predictions of $1.13 a share, according to First Call. Kodak said it recovered around 1 percentage point of market share in the United States. Kodak's stock surged $8.75 to $82.50 on the New York Stock Exchange. Compaq had a loss of $3.63 billion in the second quarter after taking several charges, compared with net income of $257 million a year ago. Without the charges, the company had a $32 million profit, as the top personal computer maker cleared out a glut of machines that dragged down first-quarter earnings. Compaq cut prices to flush out PCs that piled up when corporate demand waned, reducing its inventory at distributors to 3 1/2 weeks' worth from 10. Kroger said fiscal second-quarter profit before special items rose 17 percent, to $126.8 million, as it cut costs and boosted grocery sales. After special items, net income came to $94.3 million, down 10 percent. LOCAL BUSINESS USA Floral Products of Washington said it has appointed Chris Wilson to the new position of chief operating officer. Wilson was previously division president of the McLane Co., an $11 billion subsidiary of Wal-Mart. Wachovia of Winston-Salem, N.C., reported second-quarter net income of $209.9 million, up 7 percent. The earnings included pretax expenses of $30.8 million related to Wachovia's purchase last year of two Virginia-based banks, Central Fidelity Banks in Richmond and Jefferson Bankshares in Charlottesville. The bank said these so-called "integration" costs were higher than anticipated because of additional systems conversions and employee benefit expense. Excluding this charge, income rose 17 percent to $230.3 million. Bank officials attributed the growth to rising fee income, particularly from capital markets and mortgage services. GROWING OLDER By 2030, the number of people over age 85, the age group most likely to need long-term nursing care, will more than double from 3.9 million to 8.5 million. In millions Ages 65 - 84 1997 30.3 2030 60.9 Age 85 and older 1997 4.0 2030 8.5 Total over age 65 1997 34.2 2030 78.9 SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau